The Twins are most certainly turning things upside down right now. With yesterday's strange 7-5 win, a duel of the grand slams, over the Tampa Bay Deviled Hams (I have decided that I can call them that again) the hometown nine extended their winning streak to four games, almost right on the heels of a five-game losing streak. This is very reminiscent of last year's streaky team, which seemed to either sweep or be swept in almost every series for a large portion of the year. But with just nine days remaining until that magical July 31st deadline, one wonders if recent events will have any impact on whether or not the Twins' brass makes a trade.
I have said on more than one occasion that I would love for the Twins to acquire the Pirates' Kris Benson, but there have been some interesting developments lately with this case. Benson has been pitching very well of late, While the staff has been pretty solid of late, I think that the rotation would benefit from a veteran like Benson. Terry Mulholland, as much as I love his recent performance, probably can't keep up this Jamie Moyer impression for very much longer. And Kyle Lohse has just been so darn infuriating (i.e. inconsistent) for this entire season that I hate to think what will happen when we need him for a big game against the Sox in September. He simply hasn't been getting the job done.
However, Pirates' GM Dave Littlefield seems to think that he can receive enough talent in return for a guy with a 4.25 career ERA to turn his franchise around. Littlefield has been quoted as saying that he wants a major league ready player and a top prospect (plus more possibly) in return for Benson. For the Twins, that translates roughly to perhaps Michael Cuddyer and J.D. Durbin in exchange for Benson. Every Twins fan (and Terry Ryan I assume) will tell you that a trade like that is utter hogwash. Littlefield will get nothing near what he is demanding for Benson, who will cost almost $3 million for a two month rental. It doesn't matter that Benson is probably the best pitcher available on the market: he simply isn't worth that much in a trade. A more realistic (and fair) trade would include perhaps Michael Restovich and borderline prospect like Adam Johnson. I doubt the Pirates will find anyone stupid enough to give in to their excessive demands, so it is probably just a matter of who offers the best mid-level prospect.
Now this one is pure speculation (started perhaps at sethspeaks.com the other day) but it is intriguing nonetheless. It is rumored that if the Mariners are unable to find a taker for the struggling Boone they may just release him as they did with Rich Aurilla and John Olerud. But as Seth suggests, why not have the Twins trade them some token players (Rivas, Restovich, or Adam Johnson) instead? If he's released, the M's will have to pay his salary for this year anyway, so you'd think that they'd be happy to get a warm bucket of spit in return. But there are definite issues here--Boone's option, his injury status, whether or not the Yankees want him--but it's still fun to think about. Can you imagine if the Twins all of a sudden had a legitimate power threat at second base instead of the Black Hole (i.e. Luis "The Place Where At-Bats Go To Die" Rivas) that currently resides there? Excuse me now while I drift into a state of contented bliss...
I would be excited if the Twins were able to acquire either of those players, and ecstatic if they acquired both. However, the latter is obviously just a misguided pipe dream. If you're in the mood for more trade speculation, there have been a number of well written articles dealing with the subject. Today, Twins Geek has a very enlightening post about Paul Wilson as a trade candidate and also predicts the upcoming uproar that will occur when the Twins don't match the White Sox next (inevitable) blockbuster trade. Jimmy Souhan over at the Strib helped fan the speculatory flames with his article the other day. And as always, the DTFC Twins' Forum is rocking with all sorts of opinions on the trade situation, including some very interesting ideas from numerous hardcore Twins fans.
That's all I've got for tonight. I appreciate the recent upsurge in support I've received since John left me flying solo last week, as it gives me a lot of confidence and motivation to write something new each day. If you have any thoughts on the topics discussed here, feel free to drop a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I almost always respond in a timely matter to both forms of communication. Good night everyone.
p.s. Also, if you haven't read the paper yet this morning, be sure and read this article by Souhan and I'm sure you'll get a snicker or two from it (I know I sure did!). Dougie is all paranoid that he has been Pipped, and in his desperation he's saying all sorts of crazy stuff! I love it!